Thursday, June 11, 2015

Who Wants Boring for Dinner?

Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad (photo by Andy Mills)
I’ve never approached new things in the normal way.  Take my bowling style.  I have an impressively awkward backhand spin—all because no one ever taught me the right way to bowl.  But in the kitchen an eccentric approach can pay off.  It certainly did yesterday when I pulled out two raw boneless chicken breasts from the fridge and wondered what to do with them.

I could have boiled or baked them and served them plain.  A basic cooked chicken breast is a good diet food.  It’s good for putting on muscle.  It’s also one of the most boring foods on the planet.  Who wants boring for dinner?  Not me.

Chicken Caesar Salad isn’t 100% boring, but it’s close.  Not boring at all is my Blackened Chicken recipe.   Brainstorm: why not combine them? 

Blackened Chicken calls for more spices than any other recipe I have.  I smothered those chicken breasts in spices, fried them, cut them into pieces and added them to some chopped romaine lettuce and croutons.  Not boring at all.
Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad – serves 3 
1 large romaine lettuce
2 chicken breasts
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon fresh or dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons canola oil or more if necessary (divided use)
Bottled Caesar or other favorite dressing
1 cup croutons (optional) 
Wash romaine and pat dry. Cut or tear the leaves into small pieces and put in a large salad bowl.  Set aside. 
Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally through the middle.  You will have 4 thin cutlets.  Set aside. 
Combine all the spices and salt in a soup bowl or plate and mix thoroughly. 
Put 1 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan and begin heating over medium-high heat.  
Put 1 tablespoon oil in a soup bowl and lay 1 chicken cutlet in the oil.  Turn it over so both sides are oiled.  Then place the cutlet in the spice mixture and then turn it over so that both sides are covered with spices.  Put it into the hot frying pan.  
Quickly prepare the remaining cutlets in the same way and cook in the frying pan.  Cook for about 4 minutes per side, or until the center of the chicken is no longer pink.  Cut into the thickest piece to check that it’s done. 
Remove the chicken to a cutting board and cut into bite-size pieces.  Add to the salad and toss.  Add the dressing or serve it on the side.  Add the croutons, if using.  Serve.